Update: Starting 24 March 2020, all museums in the UK are officially closed.
The statement, released on 17 March 2020, states that:
NEMO, the Network of European Museum Organisations, has been following the spread of COVID-19 closely. We stand in solidarity with every person and organisations that are affected by the virus and by the measures taken to contain it. The coronavirus has affected all countries in Europe and it is clear that the museum sector is taking a heavy toll.
According to a NEMO survey on the impact of the COVID-19 measures on museums, the majority of museums in European countries are closed to the public. Exception (as of 17 March): the UK keeps museums open for individual visits, but visitor numbers have dropped severely. Museums in various Croatian regions are closed. Museums in Sweden are still open but only for 500 people at the time.
For now, most of the museums in Europe are closed until the end of March 2020, some of them even until mid-April.
For museum operations, this means that
- Staff is asked to stay at home and work remotely if possible and necessary
- Some museums already track their income losses (Museum cafés, tickets, shops)
- Especially small museums and private museums fear the financial impact of the coronavirus and are faced with possible lay-off of staff
- Museums are working on their digital presence. Museums are for instance coming to people’s homes with the hashtag #MuseumAtHome and #MuseumsFromHome. The Castello di Rivoli near Turin, Italy, has been working hard to make its exhibitions available online. The A. G. Leventis Gallery in Cyprus, is presenting art pieces from its collection on Facebook with the hashtag #IStayHome_IStayWithArt. The British Museum in London and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris invites to virtual tours. Join a 360 degree tour of the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
NEMO keeps monitoring the situation and asks all museums and museum organisations to keep us updated.
NEMO urges governments at all levels in Europe to adopt appropriate emergency measures to support museums to make it through this challenging time, as well as to support the sustainability of the cultural sector at large.
NEMO welcomes the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA)’s swift response on the potential effect of COVID-19 on EU funded projects that might be hindered, or partially / temporarily affected, by mobility restrictions.
NEMO recognises its own responsibility in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Starting on Monday 15 March 2020 and for as long as necessary, NEMO will postpone meetings and training opportunities organised by the network unless we are able to find a digital solution. We will contact any affected participants well in advance and give them further information. The office will largely work from home until 3 April. Operations will go on as normal and we will continue to update members about the situation for museums in Europe. Consider sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org instead of calling since the office at times will be unattended.